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Our Involvement in the Competition for the new Twickenham Riverside site

In the summer of 2014 we were considering applying for a grant to renovate the slipway next to the Eel Pie bridge. Initial plans were drawn up which we discussed with the Council. We were informed that the area was going to be redeveloped and the slipway could not be considered in isolation.

As a result of this discussion we were told that we would be given details of the competition brief when it was available so we could take part. We wrote to the Council regularly asking about the brief and then towards the end of January 2015 we were told it was too late as signature architects had been invited to enter the competition.

At the end of 2014 we had started discussing possible plans. One of our initial interests was reinstating the Charlie Shore boathouses for use by sports clubs including Epic SUP.

We spoke to the Council and on 13 February we were told that our team could enter the competition although we understood that other competitors had already started work. On 4 December it had been decided that we would be the Stakeholder Lead; our brief was to consult with interested parties within Twickenham to find out what they would like to see on the new site.

We started work immediately, initially speaking to Bruce Lyons (Church Street Association and Twickenham Town Business Association) as Church Street is so near to the site. Overall we spoke to around thirty people, some representing various groups in Twickenham. Once bringing back an outdoor pool was mentioned the idea of the lido in Bristol came to mind so we made trips to Clifton and spoke to regular users. We also visited the Reading lido which was in the process of renovation.

The lido was probably a little more imaginative than the Council’s brief but unlike those who prepared it we were steeped in the history of the area as we had directed the HLF project Memories of Twickenham Riverside and been involved in events on Twickenham Riverside since 2011.

At a meeting with our team at Euston Tower on 25 February the lido idea was overwhelmingly accepted by everyone as our only plan to put forward to the Council.

Plans took shape during March with a brain storming meeting at Euston Tower on 13 March with Davide, an Italian architect, amazing us all by interpreting our ideas on screen within what seemed like seconds!

The final plan was sent to the Council at the beginning of April, just before Easter.

Plans submitted for the Council competition:

Atkins Entry (with lido)

John Simpson Entry

John Muir Entry

The original Terry plan, chosen by the Council, was changed a number of times and then taken to planning. Although permission was gained the Council administration lost the ensuing election and the planning application was withdrawn.

Andy Sutch, chairman of Sport Richmond, was reported in the local newspaper saying that the lido proposals appeared to be "very attractive". He added: "Certainly in terms of what it would provide in recreation terms, it would be good - we know the borough is short of water facilities." During the consultation Andy said that the scheme brought an outdoor pool back to Twickenham with an emphasis on fitness, health and well-being which would be welcome.